How To Be Present

Have you ever thought about how much time you spend in the present moment?

A friend of mine recently asked me the question, “what is the one thing that is common and constant no matter which age, era, place or space you are in?”. Do you know what that is?

The answer is simple: The HERE and the NOW.

No matter where you are or what time you are in, there will always be a where and a when that is here and now. What does here and now represent? It represents 100% presence.

Here is an easy exercise to discover how much time you spend in the past, in the future, and in the present:

  1. Draw three circles side by side
  2. In the left, label it PAST, the middle PRESENT and the right FUTURE
  3. In each circle mark the percentage of your day that you spend thinking or talking about each period

You might discover yourself often talking about what happened in the past a lot. Or preparing for the future and thinking about what is happening tonight or tomorrow or next week or next year. Whilst all that thinking is going on, the present moment is slipping away unnoticed.

Ideally you want to have only 5-10% of the time in the past and in the future, and 80-90% of the time in the present moment, so that you can appreciate the life you are living right now and make the most of it. It also helps you to be grounded.

So how do you become more present?

Simple, follow these three steps:

  1. Go through each of your senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, sound, touch/feeling and describe or think about what is happening right now with each of them
  2. Practice concentrating on diaphragmatic breathing, which is breathing deeply from the belly, eyes closed, slowly, in and out for at least 20 breaths
  3. Write or say aloud at least 10 things that you are grateful for right now – anything that comes to mind no matter how minor it may seem

By breathing, acknowledging the sights, sounds, smells and sensations around you and by appreciating all the things you have right at this moment, you will be 100% in the present moment. As you practice this more and more, your focus will become keener and your appreciation for life and all that yours entails will grow stronger.

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